Bill Gates has roots in Yorkshire soil

August 6th, 2008 - 11:58 am ICT by IANS  

By Venkata Vemuri
London, Aug 6 (IANS) Bill Gates is definitely American, but his roots are in Britain’s Yorkshire, just like US President George Bush and Hollywood star Catherine Hepburn, says a genealogist. David Glover, a surveyor of family records, has written to the world’s third richest man that he has traced Gates’ family 13 generations back to the mill town of Halifax in Yorkshire.

Gates’ great grandfather 11 generations back is believed to have been Jonas Halstead, born in 1611, the son of a yeoman clothier from nearby Northowram.

Glover says the Halsteads were a Puritan family in the area and became increasingly disturbed about the direction the parish church in Halifax was taking.

“The final straw seems to be the appointment of a very high church priest. Jonas joined a number of people from the area who sailed from Bristol in May 1635 for Boston, arriving 12 weeks later,” he was quoted as saying by The Telegraph.

Halstead became a farmer and later a land speculator, eventually moving to Long Island in New York state. Bill Gates himself was born in Seattle, Washington state, in 1955.

Glover used local records and research published in the US before establishing a direct line between Jonas and Bill Gates and believes there can be “no doubt about the lineage”.

The descendants of Jonas include the Maxwell banking family in Seattle. Gates’ grandfather was James Willard Maxwell Junior.

Glover first made the link while studying the many Puritan families from the Halifax area who emigrated to Massachusetts in the 1630s.

Other famous figures, including film star Katharine Hepburn, former British prime minister Winston Churchill and Senator John Kerry - the unsuccessful Democratic presidential candidate in 2004 - originated from the same group.

Some years ago Glover, a member of Halifax Antiquarian Society, also discovered a distant connection between US President George W. Bush and the Calderdale area of Yorkshire.

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